Tesla shares zoom on renewed NHTSA safety rating

Tesla shares are hot today, up about 6.5 percent as of this post, a day after the electric car maker announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reaffirmed the 5-star safety rating for the company’s Model S sedan.

In August, the NHTSA bestowed upon the Model S its highest possible safety rating — and, as Dana Hull wrote, the best safety rating of any car the agency has ever tested. Since then, though, there have been reports of three fires involving the cars, two of them in the United States. Neither driver in each of the U.S. fires was injured.

As Pat May reported, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk gave a spirited defense of the Model S. He also expressed concern and frustration over “a false perception of the safety of electric cars,” saying “you are more than four-and-a-half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S.”

The NHTSA in November opened an investigation into the Washington state and Tennessee fires involving the Model S and has yet to announce its findings. In the meantime, a German transportation agency earlier this month found no “manufacturer-related defects,” sparking a Tesla stock rebound. Jeremy Owens wrote that before the fires began to affect the company’s stock price, Tesla shares had been up more than 470 percent this year.

Tesla shares are trading at $152.85 as of this post, off about 2o percent of the closing high of $190.90 they reached in late September.


Photo of a Model S by Patrick Tehan/Mercury News archives


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  • Okc Dave

    “you are more than four-and-a-half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S.”

    Obviously a blatant lie with there not being a sufficient sample size out in the wild for an appreciable amount of time to generate data to back that up.

    I applaud their crash safety test results but frankly it’s time they go bankrupt if they can’t make and sell very expensive automobiles without government subsidies. In my opinion it’s not a sustainable business model for obvious reasons like of lack of customers once the small market for them is saturated.

    The rich in this world have a mentality based upon taking more than their share, not on making the world a greener place for everyone else at their expense, because it wasn’t their expense, it was money they took and spent on something expensive. What will happen when these very expensive cars get to an age where the battery age devalues them and hey get in an accident and crumple to protect the occupants so well?

    They’ll go to a junk yard (which is really, really green?) because nobody is going to want to spend a huge amount of money to fix a used salvage titled vehicle. Perhaps it is true of many luxury vehicles but how many get government subsidies?